Stonework is published by Houghton College, a Christian liberal arts college located in New York’s rural Genesee Valley. Stonework seeks a diverse mix of mature and emerging voices in fellowship with the evangelical tradition. Published twice a year, the journal reflects the arts community at Houghton College where excellence in music, writing, and the visual arts has long been a distinctive.

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  • Issue 6
    Poetry by Paul Willis and Thom Satterlee. Fiction and interview with Lori Huth. Essay by James Wardwell, and student poets from Christian campuses.
  • Issue 5
    Poetry by Susanna Childress and Debra Rienstra. Fiction excerpt by Emilie Griffin. Art from Houghton's 2007 presidential inauguration and a forum on women writing.
  • Issue 4
    Matthew Roth--new poems. Diane Glancy--from One of Us and an interview. John Tatter-on gardens and poetry. The Landscapes of John Rhett. Stephen Woolsey--on the poetry of Jack Clemo. James Wardwell--on Herrick.
  • Issue 3
    Poetry by Julia Kasdorf, Robert Siegel and Sandra Duguid. Fiction by Tom Noyes. The portraits of Alieen Ortlip Shea. An anthology of Australian Poets
  • Issue 2
    Thom Satterlee - Poems from Burning Wycliff with an appreciation by David Perkins. Alison Gresik - new fiction and an interview. James Zoller - Poems from Living on the Floodplain.
  • Issue 1
    Luci Shaw — new poems with an appreciation by Eugene H. Peterson & Hugh Cook — new fiction and an interview

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lament for Winter at the Beginning of Spring (after Merton)

~Elisabeth Wenger

We’ve waited for this so long, ever since fall,

that when we still expect to slog through winter

the sun comes out and surprises us with spring

breezes, that we, startled, think of boundless grace

and hope it’s not yet the end of the world. Discontent

sets in and the coldness of monkish cells ripens without wind.

We fail. No longer in service to the icy wind

old lacy leaves, worm-eaten in trees fall,

leaving behind cracked branches, beating their discontent

against each other, after being frozen in place all winter,

a monastic restraint, a smallness of grace

that grows curly tendrils in the warmth of spring.

After Lenten fasts, the engorged spring

rips down the side of the mountain like wind.

A damn could not hold it back, even one of grace,

And we find it easy to forget the prayers of ice, falling

apart, loosely growing on the ground, the stakes we used in winter

to comfort our failing hearts pulled out. The hole of discontent,

a room we prayed in all winter, filled up with too much, discontent

driven out. License is given; go walking in the soft air of spring,

and bring back for us bird feathers, dropped at the end of winter

when new wings were caressed by the concupiscent wind.

Enjoy the paths under umbrageous trees that scatter green shadows. Fall

in the new mud, relish and wallow. You will come clean in a shower of grace.

But for us the heady cup overflowing, a superfluity of grace

brings nothing but a restlessness, unquiet discontent.

We preferred the meditation of always falling

into depression, and forcing ourselves out with promises of spring.

Bracing our limbs for the few steps between cell and chapel, killing wind

against our chanting chests made us strong to accept winter.

The bones of landscapes half-alien we made our own, geography of winter

in the fields and soul, now hidden with the burgeoning of grace,

made pregnant with a quivering, with a warm hovering, a holy wind

over water, so recently the ice we froze our unholy thoughts in. Discontented

with this arrangement—It is too soon! We are not yet ready for a swelling spring!—

we shuffle in the garden, afraid we will discover the world’s edges and fall.

Now is the winter of our discontent:

The boundless grace of this warm spring

that winds around our limbs, the serpent of the fall.